Thomas R. Kline
Thomas R. Kline, for whom the law school is named, is acknowledged as one of the nation’s most accomplished and respected trial lawyers, having dedicated more than three decades to the practice of catastrophic personal injury law.
A founding partner of the nationally recognized firm, Kline & Specter, Kline has gained widespread recognition as an exceptionally skillful advocate whose groundbreaking cases have helped shape the law and resulted in corporate, institutional and governmental reform through the civil justice system.
Elected to the prestigious American Law Institute in 2015, Kline has earned many accolades, including his selection as the No. 1 attorney in Pennsylvania by the independent rating service Super Lawyers for 11 consecutive years. Kline is among fewer than 100 lawyers named to the National Law Journal’s “Winning Hall of Fame.” He is among the Top 500 of all lawyers in American in the LawDragon Survey. He is the past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, which the Washington Post has described as “a select group of 100 of the nation’s most celebrated trial lawyers.” In 2014, the Legal Intelligencer honored Kline with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Wall Street Journal identified Kline as a key player in litigation over Vioxx that eventually prompted the pain medication’s removal from the market in 2004 and resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement.
The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals named Kline the Individual Philanthropist of the Year for 2015.
Kline has won scores of jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. Many have achieved much notoriety, including a $51 million jury verdict on behalf of a 4-year-old boy whose foot was torn off in a subway escalator, a $33 million jury verdict on behalf of a woman who received a late diagnosis of breast cancer and a $36.5 million settlement for the estate of a worker who died in a refinery explosion. He reached more than 100 million television viewers in appearances he made as an advocate for the victims of Jerry Sandusky while representing Victim 5 in the Pennsylvania State University child sexual abuse matter. A $42.9 million verdict he won in December 2013 on behalf of a child with cerebral palsy was among the largest medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania history. He has represented many victims of high-profile tragedies. He was co-lead counsel in the Pier 34 collapse.
A graduate and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Albright College, Kline began his career teaching sixth grade social studies in middle school. He earned his master’s degree in American History from Lehigh University and his JD from Duquesne University School of Law, where he received the Distinguished Student Award and Distinguished Alumni Award.
After graduating from law school, Kline clerked for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas W. Pomeroy before turning to legal practice at the Beasley Firm, where he practiced law with the late James E. Beasley.
Kline served four U.S. senators over two decades and chaired the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for more than a decade.
In 1995, Kline and Shanin Specter began a law firm that today is recognized among the Top 50 plaintiffs firms in the nation by the National Law Journal on its inaugural list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers in 2014.
Kline serves as both a Drexel University trustee and chair of the law school’s advisory board.